Portland Green Homes Seeing Decent Sales

Fewer new homes may have gone up in the Portland, Oregon area over the last year than in the previous year, but more of them than ever before were certified green. That’s the news according to the Earth Advantage Institute, one of three key players in third party home certification.

Earth Advantage’s information–which was supplied directly to the agency by the Portland area Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS)–indicates that between May 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010, 23% of all newly constructed homes in the Portland metropolitan area sold received a third party certification, up from from 17% in the previous year, and 14% in the year before that. Certified homes in this case refer to those that received an Earth Advantage, Energy Star, or LEED for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/Energy Star designation.

Green Homes 1

image via Living Room Realtors

What’s behind the green building trend in a slow economy? While increased demand for energy efficient and healthy homes may be a factor, the numbers are also telling. Over the last year, the 400 new homes in the Portland area that received certification also commanded an 18% price premium, on average, over their conventionally built competitors–allowing developers, presumably, to recoup costs in a depressed housing market.

“As energy efficiency and healthier homes gain more attention, builders and homeowners increasingly place value on home certification,” said Sean Penrith, executive director, Earth Advantage Institute, in a statement. “It is very encouraging to see the market share of certified homes continue to rise over the past three years despite the difficulties in residential markets.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.